A Heavy Night At Creature Sound, Swansea,
On a day where the evidence of climate change and the emergency which faces our planet became starkly clear (45.9° in France FFS!) and the UK sweltered, where better to spend your Friday evening than in the company of the cream of the Welsh metal scene at the excellent Creature Sound venue in Swansea. Having spent most of the day in the car, and thus yes, contributing to the rapid extinction of humanity, a 45-minute drive West was bad for the planet but just what I needed after a tiring day. Posters at Creature Sound informed me that the venue was looking for investment to secure the freehold of the venue via a share sale.
A worthy cause indeed, with Kaz and Allen putting in a huge effort. Check out the information on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CreatureSound/videos/1795361063835524/
Traffic chaos on Fabian Way meant I only caught the final bars of Rapture’s End as I arrived, but I was in plenty of time to grab a drink and enter the main room. A blast of heat more suited to the Algarve than Swansea greeted me as a rerun of Heat 1 of this year’s M2TM competition commenced. Urfe (8) took to the stage. The Swansea band were a bassist light but that didn’t stop them completely blowing me away with their sound once again. I’d seen the band deliver a great set in that toughest of heats in in Cardiff in February, but ‘Bekah Morganna Nevaine and fellow band members Dafydd Jones, Aled Mainwearing and Nicholas Gealy upped the game significantly. 'Bekah’s voice was once again crystal-clear, whilst the band’s crushing doom is becoming honed to perfection. This is a band whose music isn’t suited to hot sticky evenings but for artic winds and misery but don’t let that put you off. They are improving massively with some sweet guitar work complementing Jones’ battery. Cohesive and tight, Urfe are moving forward with great strides. One to catch again soon.
Since that heady night at Fuel on 8th June, Cardiff’s Blind Divide (8) had allowed themselves some breathing space to reflect on their victory and the forthcoming set on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock (a mere six weeks away now). Having got back into the groove the previous night, this was the second of three consecutive gigs for the guys and they are warming back up very nicely. I’ve been charting their progress in these pages for a while now and have probably exhausted my superlatives box. As the sweat poured down the walls, Blind Divide simply pointed at the finish line and charged. 30 minutes later and the whole room gasped for breath. This might not have matched the intensity of their M2TM shows but this is band that never gives less than 110% Betrayer is now an established part of their set and they are looking comfortable with their movement and direction without losing the edge that they need to level venues. I may not see them again until Catton Hall in August but I’m already very excited about seeing Blind Divide destroy that tent. It will be epic.
If there is one band who have used the M2TM as a springboard to move forward, it must be the beasts King Kraken (9). Tonight, they were the band of the evening. Tighter with every performance, this was a show of some style. It doesn’t matter where they play, like Blind Divide before them, the Kraken don’t know how to play anything less than an awesome show. It was guitarist Adam Healy who caught the ear, benefiting from a clear sound (and the only fan in the venue – cue blowing locks ala Bonnie Tyler) his sweet solos soared above the thunderous groove the band carve out. New song Castle Of Bones sounded massive, with frontman Mark Donoghue humble enough to acknowledge assistance with the lyrics from his crib sheet on the floor, He certainly doesn’t need lyric support for the likes of War Machine and Freak, both anthems delivered with aplomb once more. King Kraken are gigging heavily now, so if there is something wrong with you and you haven’t caught this Welsh powerhouse in action yet, there is plenty of opportunity. The band have some huge gigs coming up and don’t be surprised to see these guys established on the HRH roster in the very near future. The future appears to be green.
With the temperature showing no signs of cooling, it was down to local thrashers Sepulchre (8) to bring the evening to a close. 35 minutes of blisteringly heavy thrashing goodness allowed no respite and opener Rapture’s End sounds great live. If there is a man who lives and breathes metal more than frontman Darren Evans, then I’ve yet to see him. His enthusiasm for the whole evening is fabulous, but this is a man who lives and dies on the stage. Seemingly able to turn on energy at will, he snarled, spat and roared as the band threw tracks from their debut release out in rapid style. Move Or Die, Betrayed By God and the misery of depression themed Kill Me all sounded immense, and Sepulchre are demonstrating a consistency and solidity which is pleasing. Despite my failing to get any kind of circle pit going despite the coercion from the stage (too hot for that mate!) this was another pleasingly impressive show. The band seem genuinely overcome by the numbers turning out. Their sincere lust for life is heart-warming. As they teased out Creeping Death, I made my excuses and headed back to the car. An evening of total enjoyment. Another one soon please!